A/N: Here it is! Finally, the last installment of The Broken Miko. I do apologize – it should have been out weeks ago, but there were computer issues and life issues. Well, at least it's done (instead of the paper that I should be writing!) Haha. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I love you all for your support.
The Broken Miko
Epilogue: Tenseiga Corp.
Just before the answering machine picked up, Kagome made it to the ringing phone and answered, pushing her freshly washed hair back from the receiver. "Hello?"
Sesshoumaru came into the kitchen and, with a nod to his mate, sat down at the table and poured himself some orange juice from the pitcher. He listened as she spoke over the phone.
"Oh, hi! I wasn't expecting to hear from you. I thought you were still in France… Well, you'll have to tell me about it sometime… Oh?… Of course we'll be there… No, I've completely cleared the schedule. Only the apocalypse could stop us… Right. Three o'clock…Bye." She hung up and looked over at her mate. "We need to clear Saturday. I'd forgotten about that party we need to go to."
The taiyoukai picked up the paper and spread out the front page. "I am certain that we do not need to go. You are aware of how much I hate those functions."
Kagome opened the refrigerator and began to rummage for some eggs and cheese. "Yes, I am aware, but yes, we also need to go." She emerged carrying an egg carton and a block of sharp cheddar. "Your mother would kill us if we didn't. She's expecting every demon in Japan to come to see her newest grandchild."
"Hmph. She already has several," he pointed out.
"And she was very excited about those too," reminded his mate, "but this one is Kamlyn's. You know how long Kaori has waited for him to finally suck it up and become a father. Remember the party she wanted to throw fifteen years ago when he finally mated?"
Sesshoumaru stood up and took the egg carton that Kagome was still holding and pulled a bowl from the cupboard. "It is not for lacking of trying on my brother's part that Kagura only got pregnant recently," he said.
"Don't be vulgar," admonished Kagome, shuddering slightly. "I think the entire castle knew what they were doing, each and every time."
"Now who is being vulgar?"
Kagome smiled and shrugged, taking a large knife to cut the cheddar block. "Well, as much as I love my brother-in-law and Kagura, I'm glad that we don't live in the same dwelling anymore." She scrunched up her nose. "How does a male resist making a female his mate for so long? I mean, four hundred and eighty five years! That's a long time to resist such a natural inclination."
"It is possible."
The hanyou smirked at her mate. "You certainly don't seem able to resist biting me each and every time."
He glared at her for a moment, but quickly went back to whipping the eggs. "Very well. We will go to the party for the runt's birth."
"He's not a runt. He's quite cute actually. And his name is… oh, Kaori just said it too." She frowned, flattening her ears back against her skull. "Hoshi! That's it. I can't believe Kagura gave into the idea for the party though. She must be exhausted. She's not used to motherhood and it's only been a week and a half."
"If she can deal with Kamlyn, I'm sure she can deal with a pup," he said, pouring some of the beaten eggs into a frying pan. "Is your family coming?"
Kagome smiled, aware that her mate had a soft spot for her mother and brother. Ever since her grandfather had died three years before and they had been allowed to contact them again, Sesshoumaru had always looked forward to her family's presence. She thought that, ironically, they gave him a sense of normalcy amidst their strange life. "Yes, I believe so. Kaori likes them quite a bit. We'll have to make sure Kin and Kuma don't interact with them too much though."
Sesshoumaru growled slightly as he sat back down at the table. Even after five hundred years, he strongly disliked the two lords. Even if Kaori insisted upon inviting them to demon functions to 'patch things up', he would always distrust them. "As long as they do not ask how the business is doing, I will not cut out their throats."
"They were just being polite last time, Sesshoumaru. They weren't trying to steal our trade secrets. They're into automobiles, not pharmaceuticals." She scoffed as she flipped over the omelet. "It's not like they would even understand most of our research. Heck, I don't understand most of it and I'm vice president of the company."
"Tenseiga Corporation was your creation," pointed out her mate in a rare display of praise. "You don't have to understand it."
She gave him a dazzling smile, one that still made his heart skip a beat, even after five hundred years. "Thank you." She placed a plate with a steaming omelet in front of him.
Sesshoumaru stretched out his new left arm and watched as the sunlight caught it. "I believe I should be thanking you, Kagome."
The hanyou blushed and tapped on the metal plating of his prosthesis. It was the latest design of Tenseiga Corp's line. Even the strictest medical journals had called the new technology a "boon to society" and "likely to lead to a cybernetic epiphany". Kagome scoffed as she remembered that, looking at how her mate's metal fingers easily held the newspaper, with as much dexterity as a youkai should normally have. If that wasn't a cybernetic breakthrough, she didn't know what was.
"We need to figure out how to make a realistic skin covering for it without melting the wiring," she said, pointing to the wires encased in tubing. "Is it working alright?"
"It is fine," the taiyoukai said, curling his hand into a fist and then back out. "If I wanted a true limb, I could have sliced one off of unsuspecting demon." His lip curled up in a smirk that made it unclear whether he was joking or not.
Kagome just rolled her eyes. "Well, the government is really excited about this one. I want to be able to deliver something that looks convincing, for those that do want realism. As CEO, you should be willing to at least listen to them."
Sesshoumaru shrugged and went back to the newspaper, skimming an article about an arsonist's fire in a downtown meat market. He didn't need to finish it to know that three thousand pounds of beef had been barbecued. He still smelled it in the air, along with the chemical used as the accelerant. Their own penthouse was only a few blocks away. "We should go to the city this weekend."
The hanyou knew that he didn't mean Tokyo, but the City of the West, which they had preserved by buying up the land around it as soon as possible. No one was allowed into the 'wildlife sanctuary' except for those invited. Sesshoumaru liked to return every month or so to make sure everything was still doing well, especially after it was nearly destroyed in the war. Several youkai employees kept it clean and functional. "We have the party, remember?" she said, amazed how quickly things he didn't want to do slipped his mind.
"Then next weekend."
Kagome nodded. "Okay, I think I had scheduled a lunch with Ruri, but I'm sure we can do it sometime during the week. She's dating some human, did I tell you?"
"Yes." His shoulders tensed slightly. The truth was that, although youkai still existed in high places in Japan, many had died in the war decades earlier, despite Kagome's attempts to warn them all. With low birth rates, they were still recovering their population and many had turned to humans for mates.
"You're just old fashioned," said Kagome, walking over and kissing him atop his silver head. "You married me, didn't you?"
She waved the plain gold band she wore in front of his face. She loved to tease him about caving into human tradition. "I only married you on human terms because the government said it would make the paperwork easier to conceal," he said stiffly, referring to the government program that allowed youkai to hide their long life spans. In return, they agreed to support other government initiatives, like Tenseiga Corp's assistance in medical arenas. "We were only mates for centuries and I was perfectly content."
Kagome wiggled her way between the breakfast table and her mate, sitting on his lap and placing her hands upon his chest. She was aware that his proposal five hundred years before still burned bright in his memory. "I know. It was enough for me too, you know that, right?"
"If it was not, I would not imagine that you would agree to sharing my bed," he replied.
She smoothed the lapels of his suit. She was still unused to seeing him dressed like this and the absence of his markings and his tail were quite unnerving at times. It was only a simple concealment spell, but Kagome was very grateful that it didn't completely work and left his silver hair and golden eyes. She smiled at him. "Yeah, you're probably right. I don't even really think of you as my husband. You're my mate."
Sesshoumaru smirked, proud that he had shifted her perception to the youkai way. Leaning in, he nipped at the white scar tissue at the base of her neck. "I am," he agreed.
She squirmed. "Stop that. I have to get dressed for the office too, you know," she said in a tone that belied her true feelings.
"Oh, ew! Do you have to do that at the breakfast table?"
The taiyoukai lifted his head and looked at his youngest child. He smirked again. "Would you rather I did it in public, Midori?" His daughter was fifty years old, but with three-fourths demon blood, she was essentially a teenager. Her long black and silver hair, which she lamented made her look like she was going gray prematurely, covered her pointed ears. The crescent on her forehead, above her brown eyes, was already hidden by the concealment spell he had taught to all of his children.
The girl blanched. "The breakfast table is fine then." She looked at her mother, who had walked back across the kitchen to make more omelets. "Mom, do you know where my backpack is? I've looked everywhere."
"I washed it because it was filthy. It's in the laundry room. Not surprised you haven't looked there." She cracked open a few more eggs. "Tell me, have any of your clothes grown fuzzy yet? Maybe we should start naming them."
Midori rolled her eyes, reminding Sesshoumaru very much of Kagome. "Mom, whatever. I'll wash them tonight when I get back."
As she was about to leave, a handsome young youkai in a gray suit strolled in and ruffled her hair. "Hey, Midi, what's up?"
"Oh, stuff it, Washi," she huffed.
"Don't talk to your brother like that and come and have breakfast. You barely ate anything last night." She pointed to one of the many chairs surrounding the thankfully sturdy table.
Midori walked over and plopped down beside her father. "I hate that nickname. I don't call you 'Wash', do I?"
The eagle demon shrugged. "It's kind of stupid sounding, but whatever, kiddo."
"I hate that one too."
"Sure. We got some toast?" he asked, diving into the freezer and pulling out a loaf of bread.
"We will if you make some," answered Kagome, pointing to the toaster. "Midori, get out the jelly and butter. It looks like we're going to have an actual breakfast this morning. Sesshoumaru?"
The taiyoukai looked over the top of the newspaper with a raised eyebrow. "Yes?"
She smiled at him. "Mind getting the other two? Looks like they slept in again."
Sesshoumaru got up just as Rin and Daichi walked in. Rin was in a suit, ready to go to the office, while Daichi looked like he had just rolled out of bed. The taiyoukai raised an eye at his two elder children. Rin had blossomed into a beautiful young woman, seemingly stuck at the age of twenty-three. She was a botanist working for the company, using plant material to figure out some of their most popular medicines. When you managed to steer conversation away from the destruction of forests and therefore millions of potential cures, Rin was charming. Beside her, Daichi looked like Sesshoumaru, only he kept his hair short and he just had stripes upon his cheeks, like his uncle Kamlyn. A large fluffy tail trailed behind him. Neither of their children had inherited Kagome's dog ears, which disappointed no one but the hanyou's mother. Daichi was supposedly in marketing and was quite good at it when he managed to get into the office.
The taiyoukai settled back at the table. Five hundred years old and his son still acted like he was Midori's age sometimes. He had no doubt that one day the boy would find his role. He was a good kid, but until then, he managed to try his father's patience daily. "We have an executive meeting today at one o'clock. I expect you to be there, Daichi."
"No problem, Pop," the boy answered, lounging in the chair across from his father. He grinned as Kagome placed an omelet in front of him. "Excellent. Thanks, Mom."
"Hmm," answered the hanyou, eyeing her son's state of undress. She placed a plate of toast on the table as well as one of bacon that she had cooked and sat down with her family.
Rin looked up from her own section of the paper. "Wow, everyone's here. This is a first."
"And a last, probably," muttered Washi, trying to speak through eggs.
Kagome frowned. "Now, I don't want to talk about that." She fell silent for a moment, while her four children and her mate looked at her, fully expecting her next words. "I don't want you two to go!" she cried out.
Washi patted his mother's back. "Come on, Mom. I know it's like, the biggest penthouse in the city, but five adults…" he trailed off and looked at his brother. "Four adults and two kids kind of fill up a place, you know?"
"Hey! I resent that!" Daichi exclaimed. He settled back into his chair quickly, not wanting to expend the energy for a fight. "I think it's stupid anyway for you and Rin to move out. This is a pretty sweet deal we have, you know."
Rin sighed. "Yes. And don't get us wrong. We love living with you and father," she told Kagome. "But it is a bit crowded. And for the millionth time, you don't have to worry about us. We're just moving down the street and we're living in the same building. It's not like we won't have family everywhere. Half of Tokyo's youkai population lives between our new place and here!"
It was true. Many of Tokyo's richest 'people' were actually youkai. The owners of the newspaper and television stations, as well as many business moguls, lived within a stone's throw. They printed and broadcast false obituaries every once in awhile, to help the 'turn over' of youkai-run establishments. Although Sesshoumaru and Kagome weren't technically leaders of the West any longer, most youkai would fall all over themselves to help their children. As Daichi put it, a king wasn't much of a king without a kingdom, but he sure did get some nice perks out of it.
Kagome stabbed at her omelet. "I know. You've been around for so long though."
Her elder daughter reached across the table and grabbed her hand. "I know, Mom, but it's getting hard being a single adult when you have your parents around, you know?"
"Tell me about it," muttered Washi. He had been caught kissing Ginta's daughter a month or so back in the living room. Kagome hadn't been that embarrassed – they had only been kissing after all – but Washi had made it clear that it was getting difficult to continue living with them and carry on a quest for a mate. "Don't you want grandkids, Mom?" he had said.
Kagome didn't really want grandchildren yet. Even the thought made her feel old, but she understood that Rin and Washi were adults now and that they wanted their own space. "I know," she said again, still stabbing her eggs. "I'll let you have your fun. Not too much fun, please."
Rin laughed. "Yeah, Mom, because you know that I'm the party animal of this family."
They all looked at Daichi, whose eyes widened with indignation. "Hey, wait a minute! I worked hard to be the lazy one of the family. I think Midori is going to be the party girl." He snickered as his sister glared at him.
"No way. Mom would kill me." She grinned. "Dad is definitely the party animal."
Sesshoumaru appeared again from behind his newspaper. "Excuse me?"
Rin was almost falling out of her chair as she laughed with the rest of her family. "Can you imagine? Father wearing a little party hat and dancing on a table?" She looked at the taiyoukai's annoyed expression and started laughing again.
The taiyoukai retreated back to his paper as the giggling subsided and Kagome stood up to clear the table. "Okay, okay. Time to go to work, kids," she said, smiling as her children groaned, even those that she knew looked forward to going to the office. "And Midori, off to school with you."
The little girl frowned but went off to retrieve her bag from the laundry room. She went to a special school for youkai children two blocks over, one where no one would mind if a child took fifty years to look fifteen. Given the grand amount of time they were given, and that they could study almost anything, the youkai children came out incredibly knowledgeable and launched into fascinating careers. At least three of the alumni had won huge amounts of money on Jeopardy!, which some of the kids thought was a rather dubious claim to fame. Even so, Midori was showing an incredible talent in biotechnology, going so far as to make suggestions about future prosthetic lines to her father.
Washi kissed his mother on the cheek. "Thanks for breakfast, Mom. I'm driving in today by myself. I have to go over some stuff before the meeting." He grabbed the last piece of toast before she could throw it away, and walked out. The other two followed.
Kagome smiled and began to wipe down the table, sweeping the crumbs of breakfast off and into the trash. Dumping the damp cloth back into the sink, she began to giggle.
The taiyoukai lowered his newspaper again, folding it and placing it upon the chair next to him. Obviously, this morning was too full of distractions for him to properly read the news. As it was, he had been reading the same column over and over between interruptions. "What do you find so amusing?"
"You… party hat…" she managed to say between breaths.
Sesshoumaru rolled his eyes. "You know very well that I would never be caught in such an undignified situation."
The hanyou turned around, leaning against the smooth granite countertop. "Oh yeah?" she said, raising an eyebrow with a vicious little smirk. "I seem to remember somebody having a bit too much sake at a party about fifty years ago and me ending up pregnant."
He scowled. "It certainly was not the alcohol that gave us Midori. There was so much cigar smoke in that room that I was not able to detect your scent, telling me if you were able to conceive. We took a chance. Clearly, we were mistaken." He paused and shook his head once. "Although I do appreciate the result."
She smiled at him, privately remembering his affirmation of love that night. Considering how rare those words were, Kagome was still quite convinced that Sesshoumaru had imbibed entirely too much alcohol at that party. Not that she minded in the least. "Well, even so," she said, pretending to go along with his assertions, "I would prefer that the next one be planned. All four just kind of fell into our laps."
"And you want another?" he asked. "Midori is only fifty."
Kagome grinned as she shrugged. They'd had this conversation often enough, although she never knew if it was serious. "I'm sure you wouldn't mind trying for another one. We had Rin and Washi at the same time remember. They were a handful, but we managed quite well."
He raised an eyebrow. "Do you regret that?"
She shook her head, a solemn expression clouding her face. "Never. Those kids are my life. I know that makes me sound tame and domestic, but I don't care."
The taiyoukai stood up and went to her side, wrapping his arms around her waist. "My mate is never tame," he murmured, a growl of pleasure rising in his chest. "Even if we do not venture onto the battlefield any longer, you can be ruthless."
"And that's good?" she asked, smirking a bit. She knew the answer already.
His growl heightened as he gathered her possessively to his chest. As he was about to resume what Midori had earlier interrupted, there was a soft meow at his ankles. Looking down, they saw that their two young fire cats wanted breakfast as well.
Sesshoumaru rolled his eyes. The kittens certainly hadn't been his idea, but when his mate heard about one of their neighbors being overrun by a litter of fire cats, she had taken two in immediately. He had pointed out that cats in a household of dog demons would probably end in disaster, but she had already starting cooing at the small fur balls and he knew he had lost the argument before he had even begun. Kagome had even coyly named them after two of the panther demons that they had fought together when Inuyasha was still alive.
"Those cats were a mistake," said the taiyoukai, repeating what he had already said a hundred times. Shunran and Touran twirled around his feet, looking up at him with what he saw as smug expressions.
Kagome let out a little cry of surprise as she glanced at the clock, as it chimed the half-hour. "I didn't realize it was so late! Feed the kittens, would you? And be nice to them. I'll be ready in ten minutes." She said all of it very quickly as she dashed out, towards their bedroom to get dressed.
The dog demon glanced down at the kittens again, sighing as he pulled the dry cat food from the lower cupboard and poured some out into the ceramic bowls in the corner of the room. The cats sniffed haughtily at the food, as if it was not good enough for them, and finally fell to their meal. "There was a day," Sesshoumaru said, watching them eat, "when your namesakes trembled before me. Now I am waiting upon you. How revolting."
The kittens simply ignored him.
Kagome yawned and pressed the call button on her intercom.
"Yes, Mrs. Taisho?" responded the sweet voice of her assistant, Emiko. It was a voice that belied her true no-nonsense nature. She was a fire demon and had the power to threaten incineration upon anyone who dared to force their way into her boss's office and Kagome quite liked her for it. The only more effective guardian to her doors would be the dragon, Ah-Un.
"Come in here a moment." The door swung open a few seconds later, revealing the tall, red-haired female. Kagome smiled at her. "I need these filed, please. And call Keitaro in human resources to set up that meeting he wants. Although, I'm sure we'll just talk business at the party this Saturday."
Emiko grinned, picking up the files. "I thought Nami-san didn't approve of that?"
Kagome laughed. "Only because now Keitaro and three of her five children work for us. Poor thing feels a bit left out sometimes, but she prefers being a demon arbitrator. It's what she excels at after all." She handed her a stack of post-its. "I need you to return these calls for me. Set up appointments, make up excuses, it's all written down for you. Tell Unicef we'll make the usual donation of two million dollars." She smirked a bit to herself. Every year it was a monumental struggle to get her mate to agree to the sum. Sesshoumaru, for all the ostentatious display in his former city, was a bit of a miser sometimes, but she always managed to cajole him with the mention that it was a tax write-off.
The fire demoness nodded, slipping back into business mode without hesitation. "Sesshoumaru-sama is waiting for you in his office. You're to join him as soon as you can. I believe he has had lunch brought up for you."
"Thank you, Emiko," replied Kagome, standing up and gathering her more important papers. She was surprised. Lunch with Sesshoumaru was rare. Several times she had to scold him for forgetting to eat at all and he would scoff at her 'misplaced' concern. It was one of their more irritating, continual tiffs they had. "Lock up and go to lunch yourself. I'll need you at the one o'clock meeting. The calls can wait I suppose."
She walked out of her office and walked down the hall, past the large meeting rooms and the receptionist's desk, to the opposite corner of the building. 'We work and live together,' Sesshoumaru had said when they were laying out the floor plans for their offices. 'We certainly don't need to be next to one another all the time.' In the end, Kagome was glad she had agreed. Corner offices were so spacious and frankly, she liked being away from her mate when he had bad days. He had cooled on the whole 'killing the messenger' thing a century or so before, but he still had his moments of bloodlust.
"Morning, Sakura," she greeted Sesshoumaru's assistant, who looked like anything but a cherry blossom. Sakura was a thousand year old snake demon with cold eyes and, when she didn't have the concealment spell upon her, acid yellow hair. She was actually a lovely person but quite intimidating, even if you knew her well. Sesshoumaru and Kagome would occasionally have a light-hearted argument about whose assistant was better in turning away unwanted visitors: Emiko and her ability to set people aflame or Sakura and her intimidating stare.
Sakura smiled at her, something that she could never really do without looking predatory. "Good morning, Mrs. Taisho. He's waiting for you. Go right in."
Kagome thanked her and opened the door to see Sesshoumaru standing at the window, his arms crossed over his chest. He didn't turn his head, but looked at her in the reflection of the dark glass. "Kagome," he said in way of greeting.
"Hi. You wanted to see me?" she asked, seating herself in front of his desk. She knew he wouldn't eat until business had been discussed.
He finally looked over at her. "I received a note from Gouken International. They are thinking of merging with another business and they want us."
Kagome arched a delicate eyebrow. "Gouken? Merge with us? Why would we want their sinking ship on our hands?"
"They have some very interesting research developments."
She leaned back in her chair. "So, let's buy them out and clean out the trash, keep what's worth keeping." She narrowed her eyes. "Machi must be out of her mind. First she tries to compete with us by starting her own medical research company. Then she tries to hold a merger with us? Why? So she can get out of debt and keep her seat on a powerful corporate board, I'm sure."
Sesshoumaru nodded, sitting down behind his desk. "She is brazen," he said.
Kagome scowled. "We should have killed her when it was still was legal to do so. She doesn't even care about the health of the people around her. It's all about the power. I'm sure that it suits her personal interests too. She's always wanted to merge with you, Sesshoumaru."
The taiyoukai allowed a small smirk at his mate's words. "She is unscrupulous, yes, but there is no need to be crude."
The hanyou rolled her eyes. "Well, what do we do about it then? Push her off a cliff? That's got my vote."
Sesshoumaru's smirk widened. Kagome frequently nagged him to keep his bloodlust in check, now that he could no longer kill others without consequences. She was proud of him when he forced his more vicious energy into more productive business strategies. He appreciated her support, but it was rewarding to see that his fiery hanyou hadn't completely demolished her own violent tendencies either. "I think," he said slowly, "that I will take your suggestion. Buy the company and gut it, keeping only what we can use. Machi obviously would not be on that particular list, but as the owner, she will get a sizeable compensation." His chest rumbled in approval at Kagome's darkened expression. "We cannot afford to make enemies with her business allies, or with her. She is still powerful."
"Whatever," mumbled his mate.
He stood up and walked to her, pulling her up and out of the chair with his real hand. "We will forget this for now. It will be a matter for the lawyers and the accountants." Pulling her to his chest, he buried his nose in her hair, smelling her shampoo. She used a brand made by a youkai company, with scents that humans could barely detect so that it was not overpowering to him. Even Kagome could barely smell it, but she said that it was enough to just have clean hair. Sesshoumaru knew that she would prefer the aroma-drenched liquids that humans used and the fact that she didn't use them made him appreciate his mate even more.
"Sesshoumaru, you're doing that possessive growling thing again." She pulled away and looked up at him with a light in her eyes, telling him that she didn't mind entirely, even though she frequently scolded him about it. It wasn't a 'human' thing to do, she would say each time.
He shrugged, wordlessly reminding her that they were alone for the moment. "We should eat. The meeting is in an hour."
The hanyou nodded and followed him out of his office down towards the conference rooms where important meetings were held. Sesshoumaru couldn't abide having food in his own office, since the smell lingered for so long, so whenever they had lunch it would be laid out in an empty room. "So, why the lunch? You normally let yourself starve until dinner."
The taiyoukai suddenly stiffened and frowned, as if he had stepped on a tack. "It is a… special occasion," he finally said, forcing the words out.
Kagome laughed. "Is it? Then why do you look so unhappy?"
He appeared displeased but murmured, "The children's idea."
"Oh? So the children forced you to have lunch with your mate? I'll have to thank them." She laughed again. "It is a special occasion if you listened to your children."
"I only listened because they were correct," he grumbled, still looking entirely disgruntled by the fact that he had listened to his progeny. "It is a surprise."
Suspicion suddenly settled upon her shoulders as she recalled the date. It wasn't her birthday or any of the children's, and although Sesshoumaru was a dedicated mate, he had never been one for birthday parties anyway. It left only one possibility - that Sesshoumaru had done something so horrifying that the children had forced him to apologize. "What did you do?" she asked. "Was there blood involved?"
"I can kill without drawing blood, Kagome," he answered unfazed. They reached the door and he stood aside, allowing her to open it for herself. He had never picked up human social graces very easily, so Kagome said nothing as she pushed open the mahogany slab.
Kagome stepped back for a moment, her old battle instincts kicking in for a brief second before realizing that several of her closest friends and relatives were standing around the long conference table and grinning at her. She smiled back, taking in the clusters of balloons around the room and the rather dazzling display of food beside a small stack of presents. "Oh!" she cried out, practically skipping into the room. "This is amazing! Who put you all up to this?"
Kaori, beautiful in a dark green suit, stepped forward. "Believe it or not, it was your mate."
The hanyou turned back to stare at Sesshoumaru who was still standing by the open door. He frowned at his mother's words. "That is completely untrue. The children decided that we needed to celebrate our five hundredth anniversary and I agreed to a quiet lunch for the six of us. When others heard about it, it… got out of control," he said.
Kamlyn came forward with a tiny baby strapped to his chest in one of those front baby harnesses that Kagome had sworn to herself never to wear. He looked very much the proud papa, but at the moment was beaming at his brother. "Oh, you know he loves the balloons."
"And we have party hats!" called Rin from the punch bowl.
"She's kidding!" added Washi hastily, seeing the dark cloud form on his father's face. Rin only laughed.
Kagome smiled and began to move through the small crowd, greeting her old friends and family. It seemed that whoever had sent out the guest list (she guessed that it had been Kaori and Rin), had taken special care to invite those that had been around to witness Sesshoumaru's downfall into the ranks of mated males. Of course, many of them worked for their own company, such as Ginta, Hakkaku and Keitaro, but Makoto was there as well, from across town where his arbitration business was located.
Daichi strolled over with Kagura. "Hey, Mom. Aunt Kags told me that you and her played a dirty trick on Pop, but she won't say what it was exactly."
Kagura, appearing rather tired after her long week of giving birth and adjusting to having a baby in the house, grinned from beneath her sleepy red eyes. She never bothered with concealment spells, preferring her 'exotic' look. "I said that I would only tell if you allowed me to. We don't want to give him ideas, now do we?"
The hanyou rolled her eyes at her sister and best friend. Teasing Sesshoumaru had almost become an official pastime for Kamlyn and his mate. The only reason the taiyoukai hadn't killed them was because they were family (and Kagome threatened to make him sleep alone for a week). And the only reason that Kagura was asking permission this time was that Kagome was directly involved in the treachery. "Sure, tell him. Only because I don't think he'll ever fall for that one again."
The witch's eyes lit up as a sadistic smile spread across her face. "Well, you see, Daichi. Your father was being a complete moron and had decided to disappear. Kagome and I…"
Sesshoumaru's voice cut off Kagura. "This is still a place of business and there is still an executive meeting at one o'clock. All those on my staff will go to the next room. The rest, we shall see you on Saturday at my brother's son's celebration."
Half-hearted groans followed this announcement, although all had been expecting it. Sesshoumaru may allow his mate an hour of fun for their anniversary, but it would freeze in hell before he interrupted his work schedule. As they filed out, Kagome thanked each one, hugging them tightly as her mate gave curt nods. Kagura, one of the last to leave, promised Kagome that Daichi would know the story of how they tricked Sesshoumaru by Saturday evening. The hanyou was certain she was right.
The doors closed, leaving Sesshoumaru alone with his mate of five hundred years. "Did you enjoy yourself?"
"Very much so. Thank you."
He nodded once. He no longer had to say that what pleased her, pleased him. "If you are free tonight," he murmured, "I would like to take you out for a meal."
She laughed and closed her hands around his. She had buzzed around the room for an hour but she had barely been able to speak two words to her mate. With four children in their house, of course, such stretches of non-communication were common. Some time alone would be such a treat. "You're even taking me out for dinner tonight then?" she asked with hope.
He arched an eyebrow. "It is what humans do to commemorate this sort of event and you are always telling me to blend in. Do you not wish to spend the evening with me?"
"I do," she murmured, embracing him around the middle. His hands came to rest on the center of spine. Over time, he had become accustomed to these sweeter actions in private.
"Perhaps… I will have some saki tonight," he said softly. He knew that she would remember their conversation that morning, about the nature of Midori's conception.
Kagome pulled back sharply, and saw that he was serious. Laughing, she encircled his neck with her arms and brought him down to her level for a long, but almost innocent, kiss. She tapped his nose as she drew back again and gave him a coy smile. "Bad puppy."
A/N: It's done! Kind of hard to believe. My new story will be out soon enough, considering that I've finally settled into my new schedule here in Austin. We'll see. It's called Thousandfurs, so look for it! A huge thank you to every one that has read and reviewed my story! And here are the final review responses for The Broken Miko.
Review responses removed due to ban